Pharmacology, signaling and physiological relevance of the G protein-coupled receptor 55

Nariman A B Balenga, Christopher M Henstridge, Julia Kargl, Maria Waldhoer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


According to The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), ∼70 million European adults have consumed cannabis on at least one occasion. Cannabis consumption leads to a variety of psychoactive effects due to the presence of the constituent Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC). Δ(9)-THC interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which consists of the seven transmembrane spanning (7TM)/G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) CB(1) and CB(2), their respective ligands (endocannabinoids), and enzymes involved in their biosynthesis and degradation. This system plays a critical role in many physiological processes such as learning and memory, appetite control, pain sensation, motor coordination, lipogenesis, modulation of immune response, and the regulation of bone mass. Therefore, a huge effort has been spent trying to fully elucidate the composition and function of the ECS. The G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55) was recently proposed as a novel component of this system; however, its classification as a cannabinoid receptor has been significantly hampered by its complex pharmacology, signaling, and cellular function. GPR55 is phylogenetically distinct from the traditional cannabinoid receptors, but in some experimental paradigms, it is activated by endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, and synthetic cannabinoid ligands. However, the most potent compound appears to be a lysophospholipid known as lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI). Here, we provide a comprehensive evaluation of the current pharmacology and signaling of GPR55 and review the proposed role of this receptor in a number of physiological and pathophysiological processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-277
Number of pages27
JournalCurrent Vascular Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Animals
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Disease
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Signal Transduction


Dive into the research topics of 'Pharmacology, signaling and physiological relevance of the G protein-coupled receptor 55'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this